“We can change culture if we change behaviour” - Dr. Aubrey Daniels
Recently, my second eldest (Jake) left home to travel to the other side of the world (or in his mother’s words 12,656 kilometres away!!!) to join Menlo College to begin his dream as a student/athlete to play college basketball. Despite not knowing anyone prior to arriving at Menlo, Jakes’s loved the experience from Day 1 and by all reports has fitted in like a hand to a glove. My observation is culture is the single biggest reason why Jake found the transition so smooth.
From the very first conversation during the recruiting process, I was impressed with Menlo. I remember getting off the phone and saying to Jake in laymen’s terms how “there’d be no “dickheads” at Menlo.” Fortunately, Jake’s found this to ring true as he’s slotted in with a group of like-minded people who get along well while challenging and supporting each other in a competitive environment. It’s early days, but so far so good!!!
Now this got me thinking whether work environments attract the right people. You know, do good employees leave while those you’d prefer to move on tend to stay?
I often see businesses with workplace cultures that are less than desirable. The culture may not be clearly articulated or embraced, and managers often feel powerless to change it.
However, I don’t believe anyone is powerless because culture is the responsibility of everyone, and anyone can influence it. For instance, even if you don’t have a mandate to change the culture, are you contributing to it positively or negatively? Do you;
Accept lateness or demand timeliness?
Tolerate poor quality or provide support to ensure standards are achieved?
See cultures start with simple behaviours and expectations.
If there is a mandate to impact culture on a broader scale, then a good place to start is to get some key stakeholders in a room and brainstorm what the culture currently is and what the group would like it to be. Test the assumptions on a wider audience, refine the vision and then agree on some simple behaviours that can be embedded easily that will be noticed by everyone. In a very short time, you’ll see a culture initiative gaining momentum.
Workplaces attract the right people when there’s alignment between the underlying behaviours in which they operate and the culture they want. Does yours?